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By Jim Heid | Thursday, January 16, 2014

Product Photography - Made in the Shade

Product Photography

Last week, we published a new course called Photographing Clothes and Textiles. The fourth course from photographer Konrad Eek, it’s a detailed look at styling, lighting, and photographing everything from garments to beach towels.

Top-notch textile photography—indeed, top-notch product photography of all kinds—greatly benefits from dedicated lighting gear such as studio strobes or compact flash units. But what if you simply want to take an attractive product shot for an online auction or a webpage?

That’s the topic Ben Long explores in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer. Ben joins Konrad Eek for a look at some simple, inexpensive techniques for taking great-looking product shots without any external lighting gear.

The secret is open shade. Its soft, diffused light is ideal for shooting a flattering product shot. (It’s also great for outdoor portraits.) Konrad also demonstrates how to create a simple backdrop by using an inexpensive piece of foam board.

Along the way, Konrad and Ben discuss lens selection. Konrad recommends using a slight telephoto lens, such as an 85mm, to avoid distorting the appearance of the product. They also talk about ensuring accurate color balance, dealing with reflections, positioning an item to show its key features and components, bracketing exposures to ensure that you capture details, and more.

After the shoot, Ben and Konrad evaluate the photos on the computer, perform some exposure adjustments, and discuss how well open shade works with other kinds of products.

Product Photography- In Postproduction

So if you have some stuff to sell—or you want to try your hand at photographing objects without making a big investment in lighting gear—check out this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer. Get yourself a widget, some foam board, and head for the shade. And don’t miss Konrad Eek’s other courses on product photography, not to mention his one-of-kind-course, Matting, Framing, and Hanging Your Photograph.

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